Last year, 2008, Regan Campbell Ward • McCann (RCW) grew its total overall revenue by a staggering 25%.
“This year, flat is the new growth,” says managing partner Maureen Regan. “We're still growing this year, we have a lot of new business opportunities which I'm surprised at, and there's been a lot of churning in the business.”
Regan commented that in the current economic climate, she would be very pleased if RCW were to remain flat after growing 25% last year.
“I think we are doing better than most; I think we are very fortunate,” she says. “For 2009, our target is to remain the same size.”
In 2009, RCW formed a new division, a consulting group, Thinking Cap, designed to work across brands and to provide senior level strategic support, says Brendan Ward, creative partner.
RCW recently picked up Ixempra from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lacrisert from Aton Pharma and Pitavastatin from Kowa Pharma.
“We got a number of new assignments from Novartis: some pre-launch products, Ilaris and an oral calcitonin,” says Rich Campbell, strategic partner.
As part of the Johnson & Johson consolidation with Interpublic Group, RCW started to work on the direct-to-patient business for Tibotec's HIV franchise.
Ward says that the company's goal in working with its clients is to come up with ideas that can go everywhere and anywhere, whether it's traditional media or new media. More than 50% of RCW's assignments are global. “We view global as a tremendous growth engine for this agency,” says Regan.
Even though the company is not growing at the same rate as it did last year, it is hiring. “We've gotten lots of references from people who work at the company who know people, talented people, who are out of work right now because of massive layoffs,” says Matt West, chief talent officer. West noted that even if they can't necessarily hire all these people, they're getting the opportunity to interview them and when it comes time to hire, they can get the pick of the litter.
West says that training is a huge part of RCW's future goals for its people.
“We have a formal mentorship program that we started where we pair employees with mentors and that's been working out very well.” In addition, West says that the company has also taken advantage of an e-learning program through McCann.
Ward commented that right now current clients include a number of brands that are actually quite small because the company has a lot of pre-launch assignments. A big area of growth for RCW, according to Ward, is going to be carrying those brands to launch. “It's something that we are doing quite extensively with Novartis in working on some of their pre-launch brands and then taking them to launch both in the US as well as globally. We are also starting to do that with other clients.”
Ward said that continuing issues with the clients' pipelines remain an ongoing challenge. “If our clients' pipelines catch a cold, we catch pneumonia as an industry.” Ward added that the difficult economic times have a tendency to make people more conservative in terms of how much they are spending on advertising promotion.
“It makes them more conservative on the kinds of ideas that they are willing to consider. Every dollar a client saves by not spending advertising goes to the bottom line, and people are concerned about bottom lines now.”